Chitra Venkataramani is an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore. She has a PhD in Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University and a background in architecture and visual communication. Her research intersects environment, science and technology studies, and visual studies.

Anomalous Landscape

“These drawings are from my book manuscript, which is tentatively titled Drawn into Life: Mumbai’s Cartographic, Ecological, and Chemical Shore. The book examines the centrality of drawing to environmental politics in a time of climate change. It argues that drawings are not just illustrative; rather, they circumscribe the relationships and forms of life that make up ecologies. The book moves between text and comics to show how acts of drawing are ways in which the environment comes into being.

The images are from the fourth chapter, titled Anomalous Landscape. It looks at the ways in which the visualization of weather data and meteorological anxiety caused by extreme weather has shaped long-term ecological thinking in Mumbai.

Since the graphics punctuate the text, the images shown here are not a single narrative. The first three pages are part of one narrative that describes the scale of the 2005 Maharashtra flood, which altered the urban landscape in important ways. The last two pages are part of a section on communities of “weather-followers” who respond to contemporary meteorological anxieties by producing data to help residents negotiate a flood-prone city.”